Campus Community / People of SU / Science, Technology and Health

Two Engineering Projects Receive $10,000 Awards from National Organization

Written by Mike Thee

June 23, 2022

Poder Joven Rendering

A team of SU students designed a 14,000-square-foot, two-story building that will serve children near Medellin, Colombia.

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The projects are making a difference in King County and Colombia.

It has become something of an annual rite for at least one Seattle University engineering project to receive an award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), and this year is no exception. Two of the eight projects receiving 2022 NCEES Engineering Education Awards were submitted by SU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The awards each come with $10,000.

No university in the country has received more NCEES awards than Seattle University—and it’s not even close. Since 2009 a total of 22 SU projects have earned the awards, with 20 of these going to Civil and Environmental Engineering projects.

For one of the projects receiving a 2022 NCEES award, a team of SU students and faculty advisor Mike Marsolek partnered with King County to improve stormwater infrastructure throughout the Bostic Creek subbasin of Bear Creek watershed to improve flow control and runoff water quality while protecting downstream salmon habitat. As part of the effort, the university and county engaged Sunrise Elementary School in Redmond on a flood mitigation initiative.

For the other project, students and faculty advisor Dr. Jhon P. Smith worked with the Poder Joven Foundation in Colombia and KPFF, a civil engineering company in Seattle, on the structural and architectural design of a 14,000-square-foot, two-story reinforced concrete building near the city of Medellin. But this is about so much more than a building. Poder Joven—which translates to “Power of Youth”—serves children who are victims of the humanitarian crisis in Colombia. The organization was founded more 26 years ago by a group of college students in that country. “I happen to be one of those students,” says Smith.

Since he moved to the U.S. in 1998, Smith has continued to be involved with the foundation. During the 2010-2011 academic year, he advised a Seattle University CEE senior team that designed a small two-story building for the foundation which now is used to serve 70 children. The current project, which SU’s students worked on during 2020-2021, is expected to provide housing and schooling for an additional 40 children and four staff members. Smith says the student team’s design work will pave the way for fundraising and the hope is for the new building to open within the next five years.


Children in Colombia thank SU's students for their work in designing a new building for the Poder Joven Foundation.

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